Epiretinal Membrane

An Epiretinal Membrane (ERM) is a layer of thin scar tissue on the surface of the macula which results in a mechanical wrinkling and distortion of the retina. ERM may also be known as a macular pucker. The scar tissue may form as a result of trauma, or when the vitreous gel detaches from the retina.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Mild loss of visual acuity
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision that is noticeable even with one eye covered
  • Distorted vision (straight lines may appear bent or wavy)

Detection and Diagnosis

Visual acuity testing, Amsler Grid, and ophthalmoscopy are all performed to evaluate the macula. Fluorescein angiography and Optical Coherence Tomography are also performed to assess the epiretinal membrane.


Treatment

An ERM can only be removed by a surgical procedure known as vitrectomy. Vitrectomy surgery is performed as an out-patient surgery. Specialized instruments are used to work within the eye to remove the vitreous gel and then “peel” the scar tissue away from the macula. This allows the retina to flatten out and regain its normal shape. After surgery, vision should gradually improve over several months.